Former Fox News boss Roger Ailes apparently called up a New York Daily News columnist Monday to dispute a headline that characterized him as a “gropey old man.”
“MediaBlast” columnist Don Kaplan wrote that he initially didn’t believe it was truly Ailes on the phone until his attorney later confirmed it was him. Kaplan wrote that Ailes said he expected an apology for the headline “gropey old men” on one of his columns.
“I was hoping you would be a gentleman and apologize,” Ailes said, according to Kaplan.
The column in question, published Sunday, compared sexual harassment allegations against Ailes, including those contained in a recent lawsuit from reporter Lidia Curanaj—who charged that Ailes sexually harassed her when she applied for a job at Fox News—to allegations against outgoing Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, who’s been accused of giving large amounts of money to mistresses.
The headline for the column as posted online is “Sumner Redstone, Roger Ailes show how the mighty old creeps have fallen;” it’s unclear if “gropey old man” was a print headline.
Ailes’ lawyers disputed Curanaj’s allegations to the paper issued a statement with something of an ominous warning about the former Fox boss’ future.
“Roger Ailes called the paper because he wanted to make clear that he vehemently denies the ludicrous allegations that were lodged against him by Ms. Curanaj,” Ailes attorney Mark Mukasey said in a statement. “Her complaint is a laughable stunt. And Roger should not be compared to anybody else. He’s an icon, a legend, a visionary — and he’ll be back.”
Kaplan, for his part, wrote that he refuses to apologize.